Okcupid and unemployment
May 19, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

How are you supposed to fill out your profile and the "my summery" section when you don't have a job?

How are you supposed to fill out your profile and the "my summery" section when you don't have a job, haven't for years, and don't have a occupation from which you can say you're unemployed or laid off? And you're not new in town, aren't going back to school and have no future prospects to refer to?

I want to fill out a profile but don't know anything that I can say about myself that it's ok to say on there. I don't have any hobbies I can say much about. I'm not a writer or an artist or a musician. I don't have even one friend and rarely leave the house so I can't say I have a "great group of friends" or that "I'm close to my family". I would really like to fill out a profile because I want desperately to talk to someone even if it's not to date people. I would just like to meet someone in real life. I do have severe mental and physical health issues but I feel like it's 100% not ok to refer to that on there. I could refer to it vaguely maybe but I'd rather not because that makes it seem like I am disrespecting such issues by only referring to them obliquely. Also, I think there should be some trust before I tell perfect strangers such things. I would be ok with it if I saw other people on there refer to it but I don't. I just see people post pics of themselves in front of world monuments and at fun social events living exciting privileged lives with lots of social references all over their profile. Do I actually have to lie in the "what I do on Friday nights" section and make reference to supposed friends? I would like to meet someone like me but I don't know how when I can't write anything on my profile. I would rather people know something about me before the messaging/chatting stage so that I don't have to watch over and over how it dawns on them that I am unemployed/have no friends/probably never leave my house because that's embarrassing to go through, and I already experience that in real life.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One picture is fine and you can just describe what you like. There is a paradox in, "loner seeks others," that I have also gone through, but maybe think about (and describe) what kind of interactions you're seeking.
posted by rhizome at 11:59 AM on May 19, 2014

What do you fill your days with in lieu of a job? Talk about that.

That said, from what you've said I'm not sure OKCupid is the venue for what you're looking for. Most people use it for dating, and the site is really set up to be about dating/romantic/sexual stuff. In your situation I would be looking more at something like Meetup, or maybe a shared interest related site. Or doing something entirely offline like joining a church, a knitting circle, a book group, something that gets you out of the house and interacting with human beings.

One thing that is not super great about OKCupid is that, in a lot of probably messed up ways, it involves making what amounts to an ad about yourself. "I'm great and you should want to hang out with me for X, Y, and Z reasons!" Which makes it pretty hard to use if you're not feeling confident enough to strike that tone. I typically avoid the site if I'm not in a great place, emotionally. You sound like your main problem in filling out a profile isn't that you literally don't have anything you could write about (most of the questions don't ask you to discuss all the things you're worried about, and you must have something that you do all day, even if it's not hip or fascinating), it's that you don't feel worthy of it. Work on that, then come back to the idea of online dating later.

Oh, and a side note that you don't really ask about, but which might be on the periphery of your question: it's not a super great idea to make new friends in the context of dating someone. Ask me how I know!
posted by Sara C. at 12:05 PM on May 19, 2014 [18 favorites]

Your job isn't something you have to put in your profile, don't worry about that.
Try to think of what positive things you can say about yourself - do you read much? what do you read? Do you like to catch movies or tv shows? what do you like to watch? What was your favourite moment of something? Are you close to your family? Do you have pets?

It's also about what kind of people you want to attract, what change you want in your life. Think about that and say what you want to do. Meet people for coffee/drinks, go hang out at the art gallery, just for something cheap and fun to do?
posted by lizbunny at 12:08 PM on May 19, 2014

Do you like to read or watch movies? Have any favorite websites? What do you think about?

You don't have to pretend to be anyone but who you are. What's interesting and worthwhile about you (about everyone) is what's in your head. Write about things you find interesting, even if they don't seem like much. Back when I had a profile, it was littered with Yugo jokes that about 2 people out of a million found even remotely funny.

I agree with Sara C. that OkCupid isn't the best place to find platonic friends. Weirdly enough, I've had success with Craigslist "strictly platonic" personals. I've never met my CL friends in person, but there are a few that I've kept in touch with for years.
posted by Sullenbode at 12:09 PM on May 19, 2014

What do you do during the day? What do you think about? I think while some people are looking for people with jobs and/or full social lives, other people might be seeking something different. BUT you should still be interesting. Put there what you have to offer in a relationship, either because you're interesting or maybe it's just that you're willing to pick up the slack around the house because you don't work.
posted by ethidda at 12:33 PM on May 19, 2014

I agree that OkCupid is probably not going to yield what you need, but you can put that you're just looking for friends so that's good.

If your answers to all the questions that others have posed above are still, "nothing", this is a great opportunity for you to start working with your therapist or mental health care professional and change nothing into something. Start small. Start reading a book or listening to one on audiotape. Maybe marathon a TV series and talk about that. Look for things that you can do within the realm of reason given your health and then inch your way out of your comfort zone. Start doing things for you first, then you may have some food for thought when it comes to filling out your profile.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:48 PM on May 19, 2014

I know if you are unemployed, it can feel like you have lost an essential way of describing yourself. Trust me, though, it is not the only way of describing yourself. You have so many more strings to your bow than that.

What are you interested in? Look through your MeFi favourites and see if particular topics spring out at you. Look at your bookmarks. Compile a list: "baseball, local politics, Game of Thrones" - use that list of key words as a starting point.

Remember not to judge yourself for being 'lame', 'boring', 'weird', 'geeky' (or whatever negative words your head throw at you) because it is not your judgement to make - it's whoever decides to message you.

People edit themselves on social media networks to make their lives sound more exciting than they actually are. I am positive that your lifestyle is just fine. Again, you cannot decide for yourself whether you measure up to someone's standard - you cannot make that decision on behalf of someone else.

So, get cracking with those keywords. Look on other social sites too (Meetup.com is excellent). And, most importantly, know that others will want to meet you and they will think you are a nice, interesting person.

Have fun.
posted by kariebookish at 12:54 PM on May 19, 2014

Reading your post there are a few things that jump out at me and would fit into a self description. It is totally fine to state things as they are without alluding to some friends, who in reality don't even exist. You said your goal is to find someone just like you, so show yourself. It might take a while to find someone you really click with, that is true for everybody, so don't despair.

>>> "I am a true introvert and enjoy a simple lifestyle. In my free time I often find myself thinking about social justice and how privileged many of us are. Usually, it's rather the introverted, quiet kind of people that I find interesting. I believe that any one of us, even the most unassuming, can be a fascinating person and a great conversation partner. If you know where the phrase "Check your privilege" came from, drop me a line!"

If true, add things like:
"Big events are not my thing, I rather spend my time at home doing X" " You can usually find me at home, where I do X, but if Y is going on in town, I make sure to catch it."

"Right now I have a lot of free time on my hands and usually do X. I value time (doing X) over money."

"My goal for the coming months is X (let's assume it's something like keeping fish or starting a window farm) so looking for pro-tips on that front."
posted by travelwithcats at 1:18 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

What are the topics you are interested in? What do you read, watch on TV, video games do you play, like to eat? Everyone has a story to tell, and people worth being friends with will not only tell you their story, but they will be more excited to listen to yours. Think about all your life experiences that lead to this point, you have something to offer, even if it's finding people with similar social aversions, or mental or physical health issues.

I can't tell you what to write, I do support your belief that honesty is necessary. I can also tell you that one of my oldest friends has such social anxiety that she has great difficulty leaving the house. She is also transgendered, which adds a great deal of additional pressure, but she has a thriving online community offering support, through which she is able to contribute to others dealing with the same confusing issues she was confronted with years ago.

Good luck!

PS- I am one of those overrated "exciting" people you refer to, with two interesting jobs and a great deal of world travel, and I hate filling out those profiles too.
posted by maleru at 1:23 PM on May 19, 2014

Hello anonymous - dating websites are quite brutal even for the most "glamorous" members. From the way you have written your question, I see not only frustration but a very intelligent and interesting person that I would enjoy having conversations with. Your question seems less about how to present yourself on this particular website and more about a general annoyance at the hoops you have to jump through, which I totally understand. I do not date online anymore but would like to share with you some of my experiences as I feel it will help.

I believe you should be truthful in your internet profile... I am going to give some background that may seem irrelevant but there is a point in the next paragraph if you want to skip... I am a reasonably pleasant and attractive person who has never had problems finding partners but once I went through a stage where I was internet dating and many of my dates were not at all like their profile. Some were a good 100 pounds heavier and one had severe facial injuries that were not in their photos. A few were unemployed and some had mental health issues. The sad thing was I liked them all for their intelligence and had they been up front about their realities (instead of lying) I would have happily continued dating them. They all felt they had to be something else to date me and were intimidated by my profile, which happened to be truthful to their surprise. I had been in serious relationships with many others who "had" wonderful things (looks, political power, money, celebrity status etc.) but to me it was not enough without strong character. There are also a lot of very attractive but insecure people online. I went on many dates with beautiful, powerful and wealthy people who were so messed up mentally I had no desire for round two.

My point is that it doesn't matter if you don't have a job, what you look like, how intellectual you are, who your friends are - there are many quality people who will love you regardless, as long as you are a good person who treats others with respect - that being the rarest quality to find. Likewise, it doesn't matter if you don't have a hobby, there are many people who will love you for being gentle and caring and just you! So often we judge ourselves by what is considered an achievement by some obnoxious out-of-touch standard... Lots of money, witty words, gorgeous figure, cool friends, fabulous job, exciting hobbies... These things say nothing about who you are inside and are all too often veneers for people who have nothing to offer spiritually or character wise. I have dated many individuals who were considered "rich", "famous", "handsome" and/or "smart" but happily left them - because without kindness, gentleness and compassion there really isn't anything there worth offering to a discerning person.

I think sometimes it could be an instance of opposites attract - where the qualities you feel awful about having are the very ones that make you endearing to the ones who lack (and wish to improve) those very qualities - as long as you are honest and respectful in your dealings with them they will like you.

To return to your question, the exciting photos people post say nothing about the reality of what they went through to get these pictures. It isn't real and often it involves a sad person spending 30 minutes to take multiple shots of a pretty monument while the really interesting people feel sorry for them and just enjoy the site spontaneously. Don't judge yourself by such nonsense. If you are a good person character wise people will be drawn to you naturally and no matter how "exciting" you are, if you are ugly inside even the most loving and patient person will become fed up.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 1:26 PM on May 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

There were a couple of occasions in my life where I had to socialize with super rich people at parties. There is a socialite scene in NYC comprising mostly of trust fund people with deep pockets. When I went to these gatherings I noticed something that I found peculiar. No one ever asked "So what is it that you do?" Because no one in this type of group "does" anything. They got their money from inheritances and continue to make it through solid investments that bring regular return. Instead they talked about their interests, their passions and lots of seemingly senseless and sometimes nasty gossip.

I'm not claiming at all that these are 'evolved' people but it taught me how much we in the middle class attach so much of our identity to our jobs and careers and really it's not necessary to do that. Your job is not who you are. Based on what you've written I'd say that you are looking to have someone else fix your problems for you. You say yourself that you don't have any hobbies and you're not even trying to start anything for yourself in your life, but you want another person to share in your life anyway... a life that is apparently filled with nothing. So you're looking for someone else to fill that nothing. That's a terrible burden to put on someone. You need to work on yourself before you can attract any friends into your life. Friendship is a balance between two people and right now it seems that you have nothing to offer someone else... not even a sense of shared hobbies or goals for that person to speak to you with. I would start by taking a local class in something you find interesting. I've heard cooking classes can be really good for meeting people. And you're all stuck in a room trying to figure out recipes together so it seems like a group type of thing.
posted by manderin at 1:27 PM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Okcupid is not really a great social platform for unemployed people who don't leave the house, to be honest. There might be better ways to meet people for someone in your situation.
posted by empath at 2:27 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Why not just leave your apartment daily?

To a:

Cafe / coffee shop
Unemployment center
Job hunting groups
Grocery store
Bus stop
Public library
The mall
posted by Kruger5 at 2:51 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Relax :)

The lives of privilege or friday-night-partying leap out at you because they're so different from you and you're not offering that, but... you're not actually seeking that.

If you're not seeking that then it's not a big deal that you don't offer it, because you're not looking for someone who is all about that.

There are all types on OKcupid. There are people who are looking for the opposite of friday-night-party types.

Regardless of who you are, it will be hard to be heard above the noise on online dating, for most people it takes time and effort and luck and persistence to meet people on those sites, so don't commit the newbie mistake of thinking OKcupid response is a referendum on your life and your merit as a human. That way lies madness. OKcupid is an activity that need not cost money, but does cost a lot of time and can - if you make that newbie mistake - cost a lot of self-esteem. So just take it for what it is. Don't use it as a barometer of your life.

For a crash-course in useful info and hard truths and human nature, read the various entries in the OKtrends blog.

I would suggest being truthful without letting your self-doubt shoot yourself down. Eg you might say "I don't know many people, so I'm looking to make a friend" without adding that you think you've got no good excuses for being friendless and you suspect you're probably a terrible human being and that's probably why you have no friends and yadda yadda. :)
posted by anonymisc at 7:03 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most of what I would have said has been covered by other commenters.

I'll just say that if you do want to date per se, and not just meet people, there are specialty sites for people with mental or physical disabilities. Here's one for mental illness: nolongerlonely.com The drawback is that it doesn't have nearly as large of a user base as does a site like okcupid, but the obvious plus is that everyone is open about their emotional challenges, and you aren't going to be dinged for it on a site like that.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 10:05 PM on May 19, 2014

You don't have to fill out every section on okcupid, and in fact it is advisable not to. Don't say anything if you don't have something to say for your typical Friday night or whatever.

That said, I'm not sure online dating is going to help you with your loneliness like you hope.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:37 AM on May 20, 2014

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